Possibly the only thing that keeps our import-infused automotive hearts warm and toasty in the middle of the winter (other than Autozone shift knobs, steering wheel covers, or other crap gifts our relatives buy us that we don't want... but will gladly accept with the original receipt) is Hot Import Nights' annual stop in Miami. Noticeably smaller in attendance this year than in years past, we have to ask, "Where are all the South Florida tuners?!" To those of you who did go, we either loved you or hated you. Lightly modded R35 GT-Rs, S2Ks rollin' Works, drag-prepped DC5s, and generation-correct 180SXs: awesome. Blaze orange, knock-off kitted-out Civics with Lambo doors and painted interiors, uh... not so much. Thanks to Longshots contributor Mark Eccleston for the pics. www.hotimportnights.com
Mazda Time Attack
In track news, import parts mongers Slick Auto and 949 Racing recently collaborated with Willow Springs Raceway's Streets of Willow racetrack for an impromptu come-one, come-all Miata track day. All generations of the Mazda roadster were welcomed, as well as cars in all stages of build. To determine classes, points were assessed per modification in areas like: changes to factory suspension (+2 pts), forced induction (+4 pts), non-factory lightweight body panels (+1 pts/each), or "excessive rice" (+2 pts/each). At the end of the day, 949 Racing's own Emilio Cervantes laid down the single fastest lap, with a 1:25.954, and Andrew Kidd not only won the Unlimited Class' Second Place spot with a 1:26.702, but also the Gearhead's Garage Real Street Award in the process, for doing it in a car he drove to the track. Special thanks to Longshots photographer Linhberg of Kinod.net for documenting the event! www.949racing.com
|Unlimited (16+ pts)|
|1. Gordon Jennings||1:26.538|
|2. Andrew Kidd||1:26.702|
|3. Sonny Suvachai||1:26.923|
|Modified (9-15 pts)|
|1. William Chen||1:28.877|
|2. Zadock Watson-Reid||1:29.579|
|3. Leonard Patterson||1:30.281|
|Street (0-8 pts)|
|1. Koji Haraguchi||1:33.917|
|2. David Woolery||1:35.543|
|3. David Buchan||1:35.962|
Mazda Speed Drivers' Search
Almost as frequently as we're asked about Cavalier engine swaps and Tempo fender flares, we're opening letters from readers wanting to get started in competitive racing, but unsure how to begin. For those of you who have to fund yourselves (us), the easiest way is through club racing in an organization like SCCA or NASA, or competitive driving schools like Skip Barber's. And while clubs exist for nearly every popular platform (sorry, Cavy and Tempo owners), many would agree the most convenient car to begin in is a Mazda; specifically, an MX-5 Miata. Recently, 2NR was invited to stand in on MAZDASPEED's annual MX-5 Cup Shootout, an invite-only battle among eight of the aforementioned sanctioning bodies' winningest amateur racers, for full-ride corporate Mazda backing in the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup-a roughly $50,000 value, not to mention, an event that feeds directly into professional ranks.
The event was simple: contestants were invited to CA's Buttonwillow Raceway, not only to prove their mettle around a track, but also to demonstrate how well they can receive and apply criticism from professional data-acquisitionists, survive interviews by a panel of champion drivers and corporate big-wigs, and assemble a winning sponsorship proposal or business plan. This year's applicants ranged in age from 14 to 56 years old, represented professions from competitive surfing to mechanical engineering, and hailed from all across the country. To say the competition was fierce wouldn't even scratch the surface-these were the best of the best amateur racers, each looking (fighting) for their "big break".
At the end of a long, cold day in the California desert, after completing dozens of laps around a shortened Buttonwillow Raceway circuit, and graded on PR skills, experience level, technical knowledge (do you know what scrub radius is?), familiarity with the latest technology, and finally, driving ability, each competitor was sent away unknowing which was the winner. After hours of crunching numbers and deliberating, 2008 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Champion and Rookie of the Year, Justin Piscitell, was given the green flag. Come mid-2009, he'll be fighting for a win again... only this time, one that'll likely land him in the pro ranks.
To find out more about club racing, check the official SCCA site: www.scca.com
Visit importtuner.com to find out what it takes to build a spec MX-5, then hit up www.mazdamotorsports.com to get started.
EA Need For Speed: Undercover
What you probably know, is that EA's Need for Speed: Undercover has been out for a few months now. But what you don't know, is that 2NR made the short VIP list to the game's official Hollywood release party... and what you probably don't want to know, is that it was completely badass. Open bar, 1.5:1 girl-to-guy ratio, open bar, free food, open bar, and as much Need for Speed: Undercover as you could handle... with complimentary take-home versions for Xbox 360. Oh, and did we mention that Maggie Q (MI3, Balls of Fury, Die Hard 4, etc.) was kickin' it in our booth? Yeah, sorry... www.ea.com
News Of The "Here, Hold This"
Two Lincoln, NE men were arrested for burglary, after they asked the next-door neighbor to a house from which they stole a 55-inch TV, to watch the TV for them while they returned with a larger car that it would fit into. Instead, despite their $100 bribe, she called the cops.
Westminister Lexus Meet
The latest stop along tour "wherever/whenever" for the Import Tuner/TEIN/Rockstar Lexus IS F was one where it felt a little more at home: Westminster Lexus' semi-annual Toyota/Lexus Invitational, at the dealer's Westminster, CA headquarters. In addition to our bottle-fed time-attacker, multiple examples of nearly every late-model Toyota/Lexus vehicle imaginable were on hand, most notably 2JZ-swapped big-power sedans, and Bippu/VIP-themed big-body cruisers. San Diego-area VIP specialists Autofashion, renowned Toyota/Lexus tuners Tom's, and concept car/sick-ass wheel creators Five Axis Designs were among the more stand-out exhibitors, for all the right reasons.
By The Numbers
The number of 2000 model-year and up, application-specific automotive air filters and intake systems K&N manufacturers, not including universal applications.